[QODLink]
Tennis

Czechs clinch advantage in Davis Cup final

Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek pull off a masterful doubles act to move one win away from retaining the trophy.

Last updated: 16 Nov 2013 19:45
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Serbia's Nenad Zimonjic, left, and Ilija Bozoljac struggled to get a grip on the game from the start of the match [AFP]

The Czech Republic have swept past Serbia in the doubles for a 2-1 lead in the Davis Cup final, leaving them one win away from retaining the trophy.

Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek beat Nenad Zimonjic and Ilija Bozoljac 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 (4) on the indoor hard-court at Belgrade Arena on Saturday.

The win improved the Czech pair's impressive cup doubles record to 14-1.

Berdych plays Novak Djokovic, on a 23-match winning run, in the first reverse singles on Sunday, and the final could be decided when Stepanek likely meets cup rookie Dusan Lajovic in the final rubber.

"I am in the best possible position after Saturday,'' said Berdych, who has beaten Djokovic only twice in 16 encounters, and never on a hard court.

"I have nothing to lose. I am going to go there and fight for each point.''

Comeback

Serbia captain Bogdan Obradovic said Zimonjic and Bozoljac gave their best, but lost against a better pair.

"But we were in similar situations before,'' Obradovic said.

Serbia came from 2-1 down in the 2010 cup final against France, and in this year's semi-finals against Canada.

But both heroes of those ties are not playing.

Viktor Troicki, who clinched Serbia's only cup title in 2010, is serving a doping ban, and Janko Tipsarevic, who secured the win over Canada, is sidelined by a heel injury.

Obradovic said he was not sure if Lajovic, who lost against Berdych in straight sets on Friday, would play if there's a fifth rubber.

On Saturday, the Czechs broke Zimonjic at the start of the first two sets. Zimonjic netted an easy volley in the second set to give the Czechs a commanding two-set lead.

Ace performance

Stepanek played almost faultlessly.

He saved the only break point for the Serbs at 2-3 in the third set with a neat drop shot. In the third-set tiebraker, Stepanek first lost his serve, but then Zimonjic and Bozoljac both suffered mini-breaks.

Stepanek won the match with an ace.

"Today, it worked out really well," Stepanek said. 

"We fit perfectly. Honestly. It was one of the best matches we played, but we have to stay humble, focused and concentrated.

"If it comes down to the fifth match, I will be ready to fight to the last point.''

Zimonjic said: "They were better in every aspect of the game.

"We had a little chance in the third set, but that was the only one. They were controlling the match from the beginning to the end.''

396

Source:
AP
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
Absenteeism among doctors at government hospitals is rife, prompting innovative efforts to ensure they turn up for work.
Marginalised and jobless, desperate young men in Nairobi slums provide fertile ground for al-Shabab.
The Khmer Rouge tribunal is set to hear genocide charges for targeting ethnic Vietnamese and Cham Muslims.
'I'm dying anyway, one piece at a time' said Steve Fobister, who suffers from disabilities caused by mercury poisoning.
The world's newest professional sport comes from an unlikely source: video games.
join our mailing list